backpack. it's licensed in the state of louisiana, and i've got a little weed. [laughter] so you know just shut up already. so he ended up having to take a plea. because he defeated attorneys ability to get the stop, the evidence was obtained as a result of the stop suppressed because he volunteered this information. everybody will say, you know, you didn't read robbin shipp's book. [laughter] she told you to just shut up. so now this kid has a criminal record. he's got a felony record. and a serious felony record because he was committing a
felony, the amount of marijuana he had was a felony amount. and then he was in the possession of a firearm. so he got a gun charge on his record. he's like 26. no priors, none of that. and he had this long history also though of mental health challenges. and we talked about that, and we talked about the fact that black and brown folks don't like to get their kids tested. well, why not? you know? my child as learning disabilities, developmental challenges, and i got her tested before the school told me to get her tested so that she could get the services that she needs. because when our kids don't, and i know i'm like gone, but when
our kids don't get the services that the need, it just frustrates the kids and their in this box when everybody else is just learning and progressing and growing come and we're concerned about a stigma, you know? kids who didn't get tested are the kids that i'm talking about in this book, right? because they started getting in trouble very early on in their educational process. not all of them but quite a few here and they just bumbled along and bumbled along and got more trouble in more trouble and more progressive activity and progressive activity, until they're sitting in a jail cell looking at a felony. you thought i was going to stop you. i'm not because i understand not
just those children but we have criminalize those that have any type of -- we have to do better by everyone, that respect. not just the children that anyone who has a disease that we criminalize. i appreciate what you said in the book but i want to talk a little bit about this haircut chapter. because that to me is a difficult one for us parents to navigate through some good ask you all, how do you navigate through that? >> one of the things that is difficult as an african-american male in this society in this moment in time is excepting this idea that you need to think about how you present yourself to the world, and perhaps to
make yourself more respectable so that people will find you less intimidating, less scary. that's a difficult one for young african-american male to accept that in some way you have two police your self presentation, that you have to come when you look in the mirror, think about how you been curtailed if it makes you stand out from what isn't acceptable norm. and we are, this country is the self-expression and first amendment rights and all those things that we hold so dear but you we tell black boys that they need to be aware of how they look to people. and when something goes down and something happens to them then that's the first thing we're
looking at. well, why did you have a hoodie on? you know, why didn't he already the police officer more quickly? why did he not stop when he was told to stop? nypd of cornrows in his hair? why couldn't he get a haircut so he seemed more presentable? and so when black boys become of age and to start interacting with the world without their parents around, it becomes clear to them that the way that they carry themselves throughout the course of their day will be take so much of other people react to them. and sometimes it doesn't matter how you dress or what he had a big smile on your face or not. people will still be afraid of you, but we of all kind of come african-american males have all had a situation where you step on the elevator and you sell
everybody gets afraid and clutches their purses. so then your thought is do i try to make a joke and kind of buffoon it up a little bit so everybody is happy with my presence? do i smile and make us a more presentable. or if i'm having a bad day and if you like scowling come to keep the scout on my face and scare the hell out of everybody on the elevator? these are all very unfair thoughts but they are the kinds of thoughts that black men have to do with all the time. so when you get into the system and you know that so much of your fate is going to be dependent upon this jury of your peers looking at you in thinking that you're a good one, you're one of the good ones, you are not one of the ones i lock my door tonight to keep out. and so then you to think about all these issues of how the world sees you. and when you step into the courtroom you need to make sure that unfortunately you are as kind and as presentable.
in other words, you're as close to that jury members assigned or nephew or husband as possible in his or her mind so that when you look at you they're not afraid. and so that's what that chapter is about. defense attorneys constantly have to pass judgment on the way that their clients look because they know the world that the clients are living in and they know how the jury is going to be looking at them, how the prosecutor is going to be looking at them, how the judge is going to be looking at them. so they want to kind of strip away all the things that are going to be associated with those black men on the evening news. so the closer you look like the guy that was on the news last night, the worse your chances are of emerging from your situation spirit how does a parent come and we talked about it. i've actually had clients and
we're together and you go to the restroom and when you come back i want you to look very different to because if the haircut, but close. but how does a parent explain to a 17 year old that going to this party, and to pick up the first girlfriend, that they need to be dressed a certain way because they're black, brown? how do you navigate that? it is the family that has to explain that. >> that's a good question and it really touches on the real thing i really want to talk about tonight. i really want to talk about ferguson. the reason i want to talk about ferguson is there so many different levels of emotion associated with ferguson. and the whole idea that this is
2014 and you can get killed walking down the street as a young black male with a hoodie on having gone to the store to get your brother some skittles, just because you are black. so it's clear. because i thought that when i became an attorney that we had all of a sudden hit this place where i was going to be able to be like a champion for justice. i didn't know that is going to have to navigate sociological stuff and racial stuff and biases and that kind of stuff. that's why the book was written because it's sort of like my
swan song to being a criminal defense attorney and saying this is real. it's not something from our past. win, you know, they killed emmett till and this is all going to make sense, i promise, they killed emmett till and then the civil rights workers, chaney, goodman and shorts -- schwartz and we saw those horrific images in all those folk that came before emmett till, like came after men in philadelphia, mississippi, right? and then we get to 2012, 2011, and even before that but it
really sunk into my consciousness when george zimmerman was found not guilty. and really that was the impetus. because i've done the outline for the book a year or so prior to that. and i followed the trial, just sort of on the periphery, the zimmerman trial in florida. because i knew how this was supposed to end. on someone who's going to be found guilty of something. and was stunned, i mean, it was like i left my body and i was in washington, d.c. with my sorority. we went, because the verdict came out on a saturday night, and sunday morning, and hope i don't get in trouble, i hope i'm not releasing some big delta
secret. we went to the service, and there was tens of thousands of african-american women at this document new service. and we collectively wept, for not just trayvon martin, but for the fact that we are in 2013, and black life still doesn't matter. so then i came back and i called up nick committee was probably sick of me at that point and i said okay, let's do it. let's do the book. that's what we did. and that i still thought in the back of my mind nobody is going to really need to read this book. it's not going to be a big, huge deal. week after week since it came out october 1 there's the issue after issue after issue, and
then we get a further bastardization of the sense with ferguson and the fact that a prosecutor, criminal defense attorneys will tell you, a prosecutor could indict a nun who is up for canonization. a truly good. and i have struggled with that maybe on some level this was the white result, and tried to justify as they're being this glimmer of the right results. but ultimately as i exploded on twitter that night, i mean, i
literally exploded to some code up and said okay, i'm going to need you to get off a twitter right about now. [laughter] ultimately i couldn't come to any conclusion other than the fact we just want the guy to be charged, you know? you cannot do this with impunity because i couldn't rationalize in my mind if the actions were juxtaposed, if michael brown was a cop and darren wilson was a kid and this black cop shot this white kid, which he had been indicted? and until i can say yes, i'm sorry, until i can say no, then i can't accept that decision.
i can't accept that kind of callous and different way that the prosecutor decided to present this to a grand jury. and the full scope of all the information that went to grand jury, i can't accept that because that is contrary to what the process is. supposed to be. so now we've got this sense that you can now two black kids with impunity. you can choke them out for selling illegal cigarettes on the streets of new york and you can blast into the car because the music is loud or you can come it's just too much. but what were doing the black
kids in our criminal justice system is just his revolving door. right? so until we get these scales balanced, then i will sit on the stage and talk about this book and say to young people in particular, you must arm yourself with the rights that apply to all citizens of this democracy regardless of whether you want to be bothered with it or not. and you've got, if you're charged with a crime he got to go to court, you've got to listen to turn and you've got to cut off those beautiful dreadlocks because otherwise you're going to look to a jury like that scary guy that they saw on tv last night.
and you've got to sit here and you've got to control your temper when they say that you did this or you did that or you're this or your that and the other. he can't show this emotion. because you've got to be armed with the person is going to advocate for you. and help you. >> robbin, i want to say one thing. we'll have questions that a few minutes but what you and nick have really put forward, because i know that both of you all stand for what we call just human rights. this book helped level the lack of people's acknowledgment of everyone's rights. what you just expressed is why
is justice for black, brown different. how do families teach their children? had we stand up, how do you just shut up and say no? so i think you for that. we will have questions now, and we will take first -- the microphone, and then headed back. just one question. >> hello? spent you speak very loudly. >> robbin, you can't be thinking so much about so many things being a criminal defense attorney. i would say that my first question is where is the discipline amongst our kids? we've got to address that issue. but in addition, what about, how do we resolve stereotypes? and stereotypes pervade our society. nobody is also addressed
contempt of cops. that's a very serious condition and with the to address psychological factors in police officers. contempt of cop is very, very serious. what happened to officer friendly? is that gone forever no? spent how many questions do you have? we're going to go -- i counted five. spent how do we resolve this amongst all of us? spent i disagree. i don't believe they should lose their dreadlocks. i think -- >> let's get an answer. >> let me talk about the discipline and young people and discipline. i don't really, i have a 17 year old, and the extent that expect her to be disciplined is i expect her to go to school and do well in her classes, this, that, and the other. the rest of her time i expect
her to do silly stuff, stupid stuff. hopefully not criminal, but she's been in enough jails to know. but, yeah, with me. [laughter] >> waiting outside. >> but i don't, i don't expect kids to be all this discipline. i expect kids to be able to be kids. that's our challenge because they're not being allowed to be kids. we will debate the dreadlocks thing, until the cows come home, but the discipline -- [inaudible] >> but they are allowed to express themselves. that's an expression of their individuality. they should be allowed to do that. the problem is they can't. >> that's why there's this book.
next person. thank you, attorney. >> robbin, here's my concern. two things. what i'm concerned about is that what i hear you saying are the things my mama told me 34 years ago, okay? and i had to first address the policeman by sometimes i boss captain, okay? now, i don't think that our behavior ought to be what we are to be looking at. although i think it's important look at that but i don't think we can have a return on ourselves and say we are the ones who are bad. that's almost like the wife he gets beat up all the dubya thinks she's the one who is bad. what i'm concerned is how can we change this institution? the reason i say that, number one, thomas jefferson and
abraham lincoln thought the answer was to colonize us. basic black and white people could never live together to i'm almost believing that when a 12 year old gets shot likely. out almost of the belief that true. so how do we change a system, system has been in operation absence the slave patrol? and do you think that was to have the same police force that chief jenkins was over? i don't think the system ever change. the system hasn't changed. what i'm concerned about is, in his speech and what i want to do with the wanted black men and a want to be quick with this. i think we've got to use this book with the children. they need to know how not to get killed. that's important. that had to get killed in a country that doesn't like people. but now other than that how do we change racism in america?
how do we change -- with to the people who were in denial. >> i agree with you. it is systemic. i'm not advocating that our young men have to say, you know, yes, boss or any of that sort of stuff. i am advocating for them to stand up straight and to look them in the eye and to say to them, i don't understand why you stopped me. i know i don't give you my consent to search my car. and i believe fundamentally to my core that when more young people pronounce their constitutional rights, then it forces the police to change the
processing. but it is a systemic problem. racism is inherit in the criminal justice system, as is -- [inaudible] >> i have. i have. i have. i have been arrested. i was arrested, mom, forgive me for saying this. i was arrested when i was in college, but, and the other problem that we have with the system that goes hand in hand is economics. there's an imbalance. you've got a kid in texas who is able to use affluence as a defense, but i couldn't use, i'm a poor black kid from inner-city as a defense for one of my clients. i would've been laughed out of the courtroom. so there is an imbalance, particularly in those communities where you do not
equalize the funding for the prosecution and the defense. there's an equity. >> right. bank i want to say one thing because there's three different parts. this book is to protect the young people. it is up to us in this room. we are the generation that must come together, recognize what the system problems and change it so that this book is to help our children survive. it's up to us to this nation survive and that's the part that this book is not about but it's what the book is about. >> i'm nervous around white kids because that kid who killed all those kids in connecticut, he was white. that made me nervous. now, if he was black and that happened, the whole reaction
countrywide would have been different that it was when he was white. we've had other white kids do that sort of thing. and then the other thing that there's no emphasis on at all is all these poor kids were very ethical donate, their homes and to donate time for habitat for humanity and build homes. they are never in the limelight. it's just stupid to me. >> and your question is? >> well, my question is why, what would a difference have been if some of these white kids were black who did these massive killings of kids? i don't know of any black kids who have done that. >> yeah, i don't, we don't even really need to speculate.
we know that whole thing would've gone down very differently. i mean, one of the things that becomes difficult when you're a young black boy is knowing that everyone kind of is expecting you to fail. and so with that as the expectation that surrounds you, it sometimes is hard to kind of keep up the perfection. you are not allowed to have a bad day. you're not allowed to fail a test or to come home and have to kill your parents that you just suspended. it's basically, your behavior becomes come everything becomes radicalized with black boys. and so we talked about humanity,
the idea that there are going to be times when you're not disciplined and they're going to be times when you look scary and to be times even when you're mentally unstable. this idea that if somebody is presenting themselves as model their and they don't immediately respond in a way that the police officer asks them to, and then that isn't a reason for them to be executed, which has been happening also in a number of cases. all of us, we need to have the right to be as unstable as possible and not have somebody think that it's a death sentence. the girl who was in, her car caches in some kind of accident. she was disoriented and she wound up on somebody's porch and that was a death sentence. there were people asking why was she there and why we should
pound on the door? said is basically over and over and over again the expectation is that we have to be angelic and if we are not in some we were responsible for the things that happened to us. so in cases like these fast executions, sometimes it's a game we play we wonder if things were flipped around, honey, it's not even necessary to think about how differently we treat young black boys were mentally unstable and young white boys were mentally unstable. we start searching through backgrounds to find all the reasons why their behavior turned out the way it did, but we don't really afford black boys that same process spent and it shows in the prison system. >> this is a great book. i wonder if you guys have any
intentions as you get the message out about the book to make this required reading in schools as preventive measure or portal to get the message out to young black men? >> there isn't organization. i mean, we certainly can dictate what schools do, but the 100 black men of atlanta is present here tonight and they intend to implement as part of the program, yes. we have both been approached by different organizations and they seem to want to put that forward to various institutions. >> number one, thank you. number two, i apologize for what white people do to you. it's just horrendous and they can't imagine having to live that way. it's shameful what we do.
my question is, what the policeman do that you say is overreaching, which i agree with, is it legal? even if it is legal, what could be done to stop them from doing this? isn't miranda supposed to protect people from that kind of overreaching? >> yes. there's a series of precedents are just occurred over the course of a lot of years that define what the scope is as relates to police officers. their job is to push that envelope further and further away from the narrow confines. job of the defense attorney is to try to reel it back in. and the job of the judge is to act as arbitrator between those two groups of people.
so we've got a lot of gray areas. and until it's challenged, then that's how you sort of narrow overreach. [inaudible] in the initial situation doesn't know that which is what you were trying to do something about. so what are police allowed to do that kind of overreaching? >> because nobody challenges they're doing that. >> what's difficult for a lot of people are in these situations to do with it, knowing what your rights are but then you're still in the situation we're dealing with this please officer is making defense of you that may be a violation of your rights. so then we're decide to go with your response to the question to the demand of ec don't want your
car searched and the officer is insistent and it's just you and him on some dark road, often we've seen cases where people are trying to exert their rights have been kind of, powder keg that accelerates, kind of makes the officer upset enough to then move the thing to the next level. and so then it becomes, the question of how do i arrive home alive. so sometimes arriving alive means that you're temporarily at least going to give up your rights if this officer is insistent on you doing something that robbin would tell you that it's in your rights to not do that the officer is insisting. what would you say? you would say you have to do it spent yes. always to the cops, the men with the guns. spent robinson is always going.
even if you've got your ticket, bring the k-9 dogs, you can't ask because you are asked, may i leave? you know you can leave but you can't leave. so your job is to get home. >> live to fight another day. >> quick question about legal aid in what's happening today. do you see any good signs, kids don't have money to hire lawyers. are some of the young millennial lawyers or interest in doing this kind of service? is anything good happening after that you can think of or examples of legal aid that are inspiring, or is it just more of the same? >> oh, boy. what, and we talked about this in the book, and this gets back to the inequities. and i would use the state of georgia as an example. they created the legislature created the georgia public
defendant standards council, and as an offshoot of that, it all goes through the standards council, and when, so you have public defenders who are handling approximately -- i forget the statistics for georgia, but i would say 300 cases on a monthly basis, or per annum. i think that's 300 per annum for georgia, yes. and then if you have this other issue, and so then you get private attorneys, which is some work that i myself have done, and the receipt contracts and we are then assigned on average 100 cases per and him.
and so you juxtapose what the defense attorney is caring as far as the caseload to that of the prosecutor. and then you've got this superfast system where someone is arrested and they appear before the court because they're required to appear before the court within a certain period of time where they enter a guilty or not guilty, and then it's assigned for a court date, pushing towards a trial, and jim this person, this one person who is running around from courtroom to courtroom handling all these different cases, oftentimes you're looking at very serious major felonies, armed robbery, aggravated assault, murder, arson. the list goes on and on. you know, the judges get
frustrated and the prosecutors get frustrated and the police officers are frustrated and the defense attorney is frustrated and overwhelmed. and it is a vicious system. and when i started practicing almost -- i will say, almost 20 years ago now, the volume was nowhere near even doing court-appointed work. that more individuals doing it, and just a little bit more resources are but the inequality in the criminal justice system is indicative of a society which does not care about poor folks. we've seen a lot of that in georgia. we've seen a lot of that all over the country.
and it is heart wrenching when you have a prosecutor who has an investigator and research assistance and paralegals and police officers helping them and got the crime lab, this, that, and the other. and on the other side the only thing you have is this one attorney. oftentimes what a, so doing is allocating my own resources to trying to help somebody. i flew in on one case, they get a haircut case, i flew a witness in from chicago on my own time. i think i was finally able to grab some of that back from the georgia public defender standards council but it was a last minute decision. she was a last minute witness and it was $750. i'm grateful that i had the money because -- >> got 150 back.
spin the issue is there such a difference between the salaries of the public defenders and the district attorneys. we fought really hard. we will continue that fight. we have two attorneys on two different sides of the table, there should be equity and debt. that's sending a message to the defense that you're not capable of performing like the da would do. >> and just a final point on that. florida, for instance, they are dollar for dollar. whenever you stand for the prosecution, you spend it on the defense. and i advocate for that, and i will where have i can go, the same thing needs to occur in other jurisdictions. >> there's a presumption of innocence still in america. >> thank you for the book. i have three sons. my baby is 30 and had to chile, i'm terrified. i'm terrified because police can shoot our sons down to anybody with a gun.
i was on a bus, heard a young man say, you can commit cold-blooded murder if, and they just sent chills through me to know that you've got these two things going on. the police and anybody else who says they feel threatened in certain places can take your child's life. i would just like to ask you, what can ordinary people do? i like to come to conflict has been elected to like if there's something i can do tomorrow, next week? if there are other people in this and want to do something, is there anything we can do other than cry and scream and curse? >> no. and that, that some company do anything other than releasing that particular -- there's actually a pullout in the book, and it is a step by step and it is something that you need to ingrain in your sons mind. they need to keep a copy of it with them, the whole nine yards
so that they know. it's not some notion, a guy told me on twitter. i actually answer my own twitter. so anybody who tweets me, it's me responding. same thing with facebook or i answer all my own messages. a guy said to me, the stuff you're advocating is going to get folks to. i live in the real world. so essential what you're saying to me is that your idea of asserting your constitutional rights, i mean, it's not some figment of my imagination. it's not something that i created. your notion of asserting your constitutional rights places you in fear of getting killed? in his response to me was yes. and my response to him was, and this is going to sound harsh,
but there has to be something that you are willing to give your life for. and stand there and be brave. and in my mind, because i have made that difficult decision myself many times, in my mind i am willing to stand into the same. so it is until we stand up and demand the full rights as citizens of this country, it is not until we do that in mass. you know, the protests. i was sitting behind the traffic when those folk were blocking i 75 in protest. and i loved it. i did. i was so excited. because truthfully that is what we are founded on is we are
founded on protests. that is me i want you all to go out and start busting windows or anything, but it standing up and saying that i am a woman, i am a man. black life matters. my life matters. you cannot take a life without having to answer the consequences of those actions. and so what i want you to do when you leave here tonight is i want you to sit down with your son tomorrow morning or whenever, tonight or whatever, and i want you to begin the process of helping them armed themselves with their own self ability to be their own self advocates. that's what this book at tim's to do. >> and one of the things, i just want to piggyback on that, one of the things that always struck me about what you said in reference to that was how seldom useful members of the nation of
islam in the system. your perception was that because the police knew that these guys were so well armed with the rights and there was so, for them it's like a defense, like they know exactly what the police can and cannot do and the police know that they know. and so that's kind of the state we want all of our young people to begin. that when the police, they start firing back, telling the police what they're doing wrong or maybe that might be a little insubordinate penalties kind of intelligent i do know what you're supposed to be doing in this situation that you are not doing it, and i know what my rights are in this situation, i think that might back up a lot of these guys in these situations pretend to be overaggressive. >> last question spent was that the last question? >> my question was following up what you just said about arming
yourself with rights. the only thing that confuses me is even though you can arm yourself with rights, people like george zimmerman and darren wilson, i feel like steel, cannot i still shoot you but they can get away with it because that's just the way the system works. so am i supposed to just be afraid of the police? sorry, this question is are being asked but is anything that i could do like in that moment to not end up dead? >> so what we have to be clear about is that not all police officers are darren wilson. we have to be real clear about
that. and -- go ahead. [inaudible] >> right, right, and i -- so the question was how does the differentiate, how does he know the difference? you don't, right? but i thought it was important to say that first. and what we have to be real clear about is that we hear about the instances where young people are killed. and it becomes, it just sweeps across the country, all of social media. it's in the news, all of that sort of stuff. but there are many instances just like the police officer, police he was in port -- who saw the kids. you have got to have seen this picture. it's just stunning, and this kid is holding this sign, i give hugs again this police officer walked up to him and he started talking.
and it was at a rally. it was at a ferguson or a rally in support of the ferguson uprising. and the police officer, after they talked said, do i get a hug? he was white. the kid was black. this beautiful little boy had these huge crocodile tears coming down his face. and the photographer was there and got the picture. so ultimately i interview that, you know, i want you to live your life in peace and in confidence knowing that you will be okay. but the reality is that i can't assure you of that. so i need to make sure to the extent that i can, that you keep yourself safe, your uncles need
to make sure that you keep yourself safe. and that's why we wrote the book. nine times out of 10 your interaction with the police officer is not going to result in you being harmed. it is that anomaly that is so prevalent, because you just don't know when we're interacting with some anomaly or some, somebody who is processing stuff differently. so be at peace knowing that the majority of your experiences are not going to result in injury to yourself. >> thank you, robbin. and we want you to make sure you share this book with your peers to connect and robbin, because
this book is a textbook, there's a map inside, but is really about how to do one aspect of saving the young people? we're going to be on the other side of that bench say, you're not going to make us sit down. we are going to give a defense to the young people, and the people in this room come we're going to start educating a lot more of the community about how do we survive one part, but more importantly how do we increase everyone's human rights so that 20 years from now this book would look like history or your children. that is what you all have done. we appreciate it. we love you. we're going to continue that fight because it is not just about us. if we don't survive, our children don't survive. this nation will survive.
so i thank you all for what you have done, thank you all very much for being here tonight. [applause] >> they will be signing copies of th their books in the lobby o please join us there. take you all very much. [inaudible conversations] >> you're watching tv, television for serious readers. you can watch any program you see here online at booktv.org. >> joining us now on booktv is allan karl who has written a book called trenton. what's on the phone of your book? >> it's actually a motorcycle believe it or not and it's in the middle of nowhere place in southern south america, patagonia actually. it's a bmw because i took a
motorcycle for three years alone and rode all over the world. spin the rode it around the world? >> yes. >> why? >> a lot of us have passions and dreams and is wanted to travel around the world. my passions event photography. certainly writing your and motorcycle riding. and i found myself at a fork in the road unemployed and just recently divorced. so i decided that a citizen scrambling to try to find the next job, i sold everything i had, and i hopped on that motorcycle to visit and experience different cultures, different people all over the world spent why the name trent in? >> we come to force in our lives and forks are the things on a motorcycle that keep us going in the right direction. works are what we share and eat food with. and, finally, you know, if you're a musician, you know what
it tuning fork is an embrace in harmony and rhythms to the. there's a lot of meaning but for me certainly it's all about. >> before we did some the things i want to talk about, this book does have recipes. >> it does have recipes. this book is more about my experience with connecting with people and culture. i went on this trip alone, but i can tell you that it didn't take long for me to realize i was never alone. if i was ever loss, even lowly, and even hungry, i would just regret and someone was there. it's amazing how easy it is to connect with people. a lot of times we do that over food or drink. so i thought rather than just do the travel narrative, that i would bring another element to that. a full sensory experience. the photography is in there and the food. what's better than tasting flavors of different cultures are we always talk about the. is seems everybody when you're cooking at home or something
they end up in the kitchen and that's where we are conducting. that's where we connect with each other. >> did you in any to any political situations as you traverse the world? >> there were a few places they could with what we to come into the country. one of them being so damn. we definitely, the united states haven't had very good diplomatic relations with sudan. when i got to the border between ethiopia and sudan it was a little bit of my own practice and maybe diplomacy and negotiation in order to convince them to let me into the country. and here's where it gets kind of funny come is i had been on the internet with different forums and/or people in cairo, americans try to get a visa to come in to sudan and there were some in the southern europe as well. all of them had been turned down by the sudanese embassy. here i am in ethiopia. how am i going to expect a turnaround go back to kenya? i cannot go into chad. where am i going to go next?
somehow after going to three different visits to the sudanese embassy they decide to grant me a visa, but there was a catch. sudan from a least a jerk of of view is the largest country in africa. they gave me only seven days to get through it. so a transit visa essentially. i had to time that very carefully. also the same kind of thing in syria but as an american you were supposed to have an opportunity to you're supposed to acquire your decent here in washington, d.c. at the syrian embassy or consulate before you go there because they don't grant visas to anybody who has come to lives and a country that's diplomatic relations, which we did. when i got to the border they said go to washington. i could have gotten this visa before i headed into city but i've been on the road at this point for two years plus. the visas expire in six months and is only good 490 days. once again era am stuck at a border. we are talking politics, diplomacy. how do you get into syria?
i can turn around and go back through jordan which is were i was in order to try to go through israel and into lebanon but i really wanted to see syria. i took out my tent, camp out at the border between jordan and syria. and i waited until i finally convinced somebody to call damascus and give me the okay to go into syria. and i'm telling you, it was probably one of the most, maybe because expectations will be at it was one of the best countries i visited. i never once had to pay for a tank of gas. in the gas station i went into the embrace the and said oh, no, you are our american friend. even at the border, even though i had all the stamps and all the and circumstance to get this visa into the country, and i had to get one for motorcycle, import the pictures what they said. weight, the chief inspector wants to see. i'm thinking great, they're not going to let me through.
the chief inspector shows up at the border where i'm waiting and my motorcycle gear. i'm ready to go. i've been there over a day and he says before we go you must have -- it's all about having key. what we might call who can we get to go have a beer, get together or whatever. here let's have shi. he sat on the side of this dusty border stop and on the ground in front of him into an outline of the map of syria. and on that he pointed out his we need to go to experience syria to the people there are warm. it said the government, you know, it brings to -- brings tears to my eyes to think what's going on there because i such a positive experience in c. that's what we connect with people. it's over the culture. i had good experiences. i love, i embrace the south africa in its diversity.
all over south america, just fantastic people all over the world, fantastic food. and beyond border hassles or challenges, which i call opportunities anyway, we can get through those things and have great stuff all over the world. >> allan karl, did you ever get treated poorly because you were an american? >> never once was i treated poorly but, in fact, i was in brazil and i was at a little café, kind of a restaurant chatting and practicing my portuguese at this point. and actually was, there was another metadata brought up the fact that i can't believe that we are always getting tossed under the bus so to speak come a treated, mistreated or maybe misunderstood. what this brazilian said, he said like i'm actually getting very tired of hearing americans think that people are
mistreating them or look at them differently. he said, i think that's all in your minds, you americans. that's what he said to me. i found that very similar with other travelers that i met from all over the world, is that no, people were more interested in learning about us your it's no amazing fact that i would meet people and all the different countries who have tried many times to go through the lottery of getting a visa to come into our country. people, they want to come here. they don't want to push us away, that's for sure. >> in your travels take you ever have to call upon the good graces or potential influence of your brother, jonathan karl, the white house correspondent for abc news the? >> there was one case i shared a story in sudan. this is amazing. the atm card and edit access are pretty much everywhere. but sudan, it's pretty tough to convert american money or use an
atm card issued from an american bank or even in a national bank that has relations to the. so i was challenged with how am i going to get currency, how am i going to get money to make my way through the seven days going through there? .. >> that was a little bit from allan crl, "forks" is his book.
this is booktv on c-span2. >> welcome to waco, texas, on booktv. the city was founded in 1849 and soon after the waco suspension bridge was built i allowing cattle herds traveling along the chism trail to cross the river. today waco has a population of almost 130,000 people and is home to baylor university, the oldest institute of higher learning in the state. with the help of our time warner cable partners, for the next hour we'll learn about its history and literary scene from local authors. we begin our special feature on waco with baylor university professor robert darden on the role of gospel music during the civil rights movement. ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ >> i can only speak for myself as to why i think gospel music resonates to such a degree to now, even its -- the music from the '30s and '40s no less than the current gospel artists right now, seems to me, has a certain almost undefinable something. i would say black music in general has a underpinning of the pain and freedom struggle of african-americans which continues through to this day. why it never really goes out of style.
it has this longing and this resonance of a deeper pool of emotion that songs about puppy love and songs about why i have a bigger car than somebody else has can't match. when you're talking about a music that sustained a entire race of people through some of the most brutal times in american history, the civil war era and before right through the civil rights movement and on, you're dealing with a music with a gravity and an emotional core that makes it more potent. one of the fascinating things is i started working on what would become "nothing but love in god's water: the influence of black gospel music on the civil rights movement," was that from the beginning the spirituals were really protest spirituals. so many of them had a double voicedness about them that meant
that, well, on the surface they might be about heaven, they might be about escaping to the north, they might be about escaping to the north, that the two messages were intertwined unless you were part of this inner circle that knew the coded words and knew what it was really about and be right over your head. you could sing these songs in front of the cruelless overseer, and he wouldn't know you were defying him. spirituals are the first acts of defiance by an enslaved people. so we have that. and that they were sung for multiple purposes right up through reconstruction where they would help give the release and the hope for better in the future, but at the same time to rally your people, to help them sustain through bad times, to teach them. there are counting songs and alphabet songs and sometimes songs with special details on how to escape to the north like "follow the drinking gourd" which is almost like a map for
people who can't use maps but who can see the great dipper to know they go north. and the other thing we've learned through the black gospel music restoration project here at baylor as we began to receive the vinyl to be digitized, to be saved, we began turning over the b sides of the 45s that we received. first off, gospel music was not widely heard in the white community, and what it was, it would only be the hits if that. but the b or flip side would be heard even less, and what we discovered quickly was how many of the b sides were directly related to the civil rights movement. >> here's a freedom song for all you freedom fighters out there everywhere. and when you sing, remember the wonderful ones who lost their dedicated lives and won't be around to see it through. now sing, sing, every one of you. ♪ well, sometime i wonder is there freedom in this world?
♪ sometime i wonder is there freedom in this world? ♪ sometime i wonder is there freedom in this world? ♪ where, where is freedom, tell me where -- >> since there's very few databases and none of them are complete on all gospel music, i didn't know that. we didn't know the sheer number of songs that had very overt songs like "there ain't no segregation in heaven," type songs. at a time when possessing one of those songs, much less singing it, was a very dangerous thing in the deep south. you could get turned for a lot of things in the deep south, but singing that sort of song out loud, that's a risk. so it kind of continued this continuum of the double voicedness, the flip sides of the 45s like the old protest spirituals in that way. and then finally, the much better chronicled freedom songs, all of which are based either on
old protest spirituals and in a few cases old union songs like which side are you on or like a tree planted by the water. so when the civil rights movement begins, they have this deep, long pool of music that has been successful in empowering african-americans and calming african-americans down when they've been beaten and attacked by overwhelming forces with guns and they don't have 'em, by lifting them up when they need to be lifted up and all a dozen different things that the spirituals can do. once again they start pulling from this pool, and that is the first music. and there are evidence of these protest spirituals, what will become freedom songs, as early as the montgomery bus boycott. it's not well chronicled, but they're there. you've got a lot of time walking, you've got a lot of time to sing. in the beginning, because it begins in churches in the montgomery, there's probably more of the old school him 'ems. -- hymns.
very quickly as the young people get involved, they resurrect the old protest spirituals. let's makemy hail ya jackson who, turns out, was very active in the civil rights movement although it's in very few of the books. ♪ ♪ >> jackson provieded music when they were at their wits' end in chicago and had just been beaten and stoned and attacked by that angry mob in cicero and other places in chicago. they're huddled in a basement on the west side bleeding and in pain. she drive cans through all the rioting to come there and sing to these artists.
when they're in trouble financially in montgomery and birmingham, she sends money. she sings civil rights songs at every one of her concerts when at a time she was one of the few black voices white people could hear, and it could hurt her career. you look at the great taylor branch biographies, and she's mentioned a few dozen times throughout, as she should be, she's there and stuff. and her political affect, she was on first-name basis with everybody from harry truman to lbj, sang at the white house, campaigns for -- but her own autobiography had hundreds of listings of where she was and what she sang and why she sang is it. sang it. and she's just the best known. there's a whole bunch of other people who did that much and more, never financially more. she was the lone black artist who could afford to do that at the time. they were there. they were marching on the front
lines. they were providing the music and the mass meetings. they were giving where they could. they were doing benefit concerts. that's never been really chronicled the withdraw i think it deserved to be. so when we started "nothing but love in god's water," we went to the places where the movement happened and tried to track down not just the gospel singers, but the pastors, the deejays, the people on the front lines, the members of the mass choirs and said what did you sing, where dud you sing it, why did you sing it? what were you getting from this that compelled you to sing this in the face of the dogs and the water cannons and the hate you were experiencing on a daily basis? and we went to birmingham very early in the project. and as people talked about those exciting nights for those months and months where they they were having the mass meetings every night that would last three hours, i said, tell me about the mass meetings.
15-20 minutes of announcements, we need you to do this, but don't do that. we need another 100 people to be arrested tomorrow at 16th street. and enthen we'd have about -- and then we'd have about 45 minutes worth of preaching, and then we'd sing for two hours. and before everybody arrived at 7:00, we'd been supping for an hour outside -- singing for an hour outside. so at the most important time in african-american history where they're changing the entire culture of the united states, they're changing against a culture that is stacked against them, they have no rights under law, they have no protection from the federal government, they're being bombed in birmingham and attacked everywhere, these meetings, two-thirds of them are being spent singing. something must be being accomplished if you're singing gospel songs and protest spirituals and freedom songs for two hours out of three. and the more i talked to the singers about it, they said, well, we had no choice, we had to. we had to sing. we did it for a variety of
reasons; to lift us up when we were down, to calm us down when we were angry, to do evangelism, to bring people into the movement. it was the best show in town. the best voices in birmingham sang for free every night. who wouldn't want to come? if i miss church on sunday, i'm going to get a better church on thursday because i'm going to here cleo kennedy and mamie brown and the mass choir. it is accomplishing something that is hard to quantify. and spending two books trying to quantify to detail what happened and where and why and then in the conclusion show why this was a transformative agent. not just a transcendent, but transformative in the way that changed the hearts and minds of angry white people and inspired black people to be a part of it and suffer what they suffered. why wouldn't i want to save that music? why wouldn't i want to chronicle what they're doing? it's more than history. it transcends history.
♪ ♪ this is my light, yes, it is. ♪ you know that i'm going to let it shine ♪ >> the black gospel music restoration project began while i was writing "people get ready: new history of black gospel music." as i was researching and writing about these songs that were the foundation of most american popular music in many ways, i would discover that all these people would cite a song, and then i would go to try to hear it, and it was not available. i couldn't get it on ebay, couldn't get it on amazon, it was not available. and this went on over and over
again. so i, at the end of writing the book, i contacted a few of my friends i'd made who are big collectors and said what percentage of the golden age of gospel music, what percentage of that music is available to the public right now? and we all put our heads together, and we came up with a figure of around 75% of it is not available. either doesn't exist, it's been destroyed, it's been lost, it's tied up in litigation, or the companies that own it have no intention of releasing it. and a number of factors came up with that figure. so i was so angry about that, because this is the music of my childhood. the soundtrack to my life had been gospel music, but i'd only heard such a narrow portion of it. so i sat down and batted out a very angry editorial, and i sent it to "the new york times" which gets about 800 a day, and lo and behold, they ran it in february
of 2005. and the next day a gentleman named charles royce from new york called and said i think what you're talking about is important. you figure out a way to help save this music, and i'll pay for it. and with the library's technical help, came up with this state of the art digitization lab, scanners, cataloging, storing, all the stuff that we needed and came back with a pretty scary figure. sent it to mr. royce, and he sent us a check. so it began partly out of my frustration and partly out of mr. royce's generosity of trying to save something that he didn't know much about, you know? another white guy, episcopal in connecticut. we've had wonderful donors who have helped to continue with the process. the pritchard family foundation and others have helped us pay for things we didn't know we
needed then and should have asked for more money, and thousand it's the largest -- now it's the largest initiative in the world to identify a choir, digitize, catalog and eventually make accessible this fast-vanishing legacy of vinyl from gospel music. this music is part of an almost apostolic succession, that this music is being sung now as was sung back before the civil war days, and if you listen carefully on bbc international news or al-jazeera, you're going to hear freedom songs being sung right now in egypt and in hong kong, you're going to hear them sung in tiananmen square, i heard them sung on the berlin wall. i heard it sung in ferguson. i've heard it sung at every place where there is a group of people yearning to have the rights that are routinely recorded to everybody else. and freedom. i want people as they read this book to know that i'm just
trying to capture a snapshot of this music at this time and how it got from where it was to here as this potent, powerful, transformative agent in american culture. ♪ ♪ >> and while in waco, we toured baylor university's arm strong browning library with director rita patterson -- armstrong browning library with director rita patterson. >> robert and elizabeth barrett browning were victorian poets. they were both born in the london area, met in 1845, '46, married in 1846 and lived for about 15 years in florence,
itly. one -- italy. one of the things most familiar about elizabeth would be her novel poem "aurora lee" and then also, especially, the sonts from the -- sonnets from the portuguese. she's well known for the 43rd sonnet which is widely used for greeting cards and advertisements, how do i love thee, let me count the ways. i know everyone has heard that before. the collection came to baylor university in 1918 through the efforts of h.a. armstrong who was chairman of the english department from 1912-1952. and he was very enamored with browning's poetry. taught the browning course even before he came to baylor, but taught it probably yearly once he came here. he had started his own small browning collection and gave it to baylor in 1918. in the collection we have
letters both by robert and elizabeth barrett browning, letters that were written to them, books they actually owned, many art pieces that belonged to them, furniture, lots of memorabilia items. the collection just grew and grew. and at that time it was just housed in the main library. it finally had its own room, but because there were so many items collected, dr. armstrong raised the money for this building. for today i've pulled out some samples of materials that we have here in the library, and i wanted to point out something that's one of my favorites. this is a sample of elizabeth barrett browning's materials. it is a set that she prepared for the printer in order to publish the sonnets in 1850. inside are her handwritten
sonnets. the interesting story about the sonnets from the portuguese, these were written as love sonnets from elizabeth to robert and dun during their court -- done during their courtship time, 1845-1846. when they were published in 1850, elizabeth had given the poems to browning in 1849, and he thought they were some of the most beautiful sonnets he had ever read and thought they should be published. so she did prepare this set for the printer, and they called them sonnets from the portuguese as a way of veiling the fact that they were love sonnets from her to him. he did call her my little portuguese as a pet name. she did have a dark complexion, she was also interested in portuguese poets.
so sonnets from the portuguese, they also thought perhaps people would think they were translations from a portuguese poet. they were trying to veil it, but they were published in the back of elizabeth's poems of 1850, so it didn't take the public long to realize that they were love sonnets from elizabeth to robert. then another thing that is very popular here, and many of the scholars come to use, is this other book of poetry written by elizabeth barrett browning. but what makes this so particularly special is on the very back inside of the cover is a rough draft of sonnet five from sonnets from the portuguese. when we bought this notebook, we had no idea that this was in in the back of the book, and we
were very excited to find out that as far as we know this is the only rough draft of one of the sonnets that exists. also in the collection we have many of the books that belong to the brownings. i only have one sample here. this set belonged to robert browning. it is a carrying case, and it contains greek classics. he would carry these small books around with him on the train whenever he went to visit. we've jokingly called this robert browning's kindle. so as he would travel around, many times he was, would put an annotation inside the book of where he read the item, what date it was. there are many times that we've pulled these items out for students to see, for visiting scholars to see. also have a sample of a
manuscript that was written by robert browning. this particular one has lines from a poem called "plion." has has a nice likeness of robert browning here on the left. we like for people who come here to learn that the browningsing were great vick -- brownings were great victorian poets to become more familiar with their works, to maybe want to go out and read their poetry when they leave. we always have exhibitions up that are giving insights into maybe other people that the brownings knew, showing some materials that were this their collections. so we just want people to come and take away some new experience. >> during booktv's recent visit to waco, texas, we spoke with the author of "the first waco horror," patricia bernstein, who talks about the lynching of jesse washington which took place in that city in
1916. >> it is hard to imagine an essentially modern-day town where our grandparents or great grandparents could have lived. it wasn't that long ago, 1916, where something like this could take place. the scholars call these events spectacle lynchings, and they took place mostly in the late 19th century and early 20th century. one of the earliest aspects of this horrendous lynching is it didn't occur in some backwoods village where everybody was poor and ig in a minute, but it was in what the houston chronicle called the "cultured, reputable town of waco" that was known for its many institutions of higher education including not only baylor university, but two black collegings. in fact, it had the nickname of
the athens of texas because there were so many institutions of higher education here. they also had a lot of libraries. waco society had always considered itself a little loftier, a little more civilized than other towns. so it was particularly ironic that in this prosperous, well-educated town with so many of life's amenities that this incident could happen. well, the story of the waco lynching of jesse washington in 1916 really begins with the discovery of the body of lucy friar who was a farm woman who was his employer. he had not, he and his family had not been in the waco area for very long. they were itinerant farm laborers, but it was not only jesse washington himself, 17 and mentally challenged, who was plowing the fields and working for them, but his parents live inside a little shack on the friars' property. i think there was a younger
brother, also a teenager, and some smaller children, and they were all doing some kind of work. and she was found at the door to the seed barn with her head bashed in. it looked like she'd been hit over the head really hard several times, and her clothes were somewhat disheveled also. and, of course, they called the investigating officers immediately, and they looked around and noticed jesse washington had been nearby all afternoon plowing a closed-in field while the kids and mr. friar were off farther away from the house. and so they grabbed him, and one example of -- that might demonstrate the fact that he was mentally challenged is that he was upset at first when he was arrested, but then he just went to sleep in the pack of the police car -- in the back of the police car was what elizabeth freeman, the naacp investigator, was told. so they took him to jail in waco, but they realized a lynch
mob might come after him there, so they took him on to the hillsborough jail north of here and then finally to the dallas jail. and at every one of these locations, he was interrogated about the murder, and they were trying to elicit a confession from him. and he finally supposedly or allegedly -- we really have no way of knowing what actually happened during those jail time interviews -- but allegedly he finally told them where the weapon was that he had killed her with, and it was a blacksmith's hammer, and it was found in some heckberry brush around one of the fields where he had been plowing, and it did have some blood on it and some pieces of cotton seed lint, so it appeared it was the murder weapon. the trial took place in 1916 only exactly one week after the murdered woman's body was found. it's hard to imagine a murder trial taking place that fast, but there didn't seem to be much interest in doing any real
investigation in those days. so he was dragged into the courtroom. i think he was said to be mentally challenged, and he was only 17 years old. they said they had never been able to teach him to read or write, and it seems very apparent even from the meager record we have that he had very little understanding of even what was going on in the courtroom. they asked him if he wanted to plead guilty or not guilty, and he mumbled something and then he just said, "yeah." so i don't think he even knew quite what was happening, and it must have been terrifying because this relatively small courtroom was full of about 2500 people, and there were hundreds more filling the whole courthouse, milling around outside, climbing into trees outside. there were thousands of people in the immediate area all basically screaming for his blood. so it really was conducted much like a kangaroo court. there were six very young, very inexperienced attorneys assigned to represent him. they were all sons of very
wealthy families here in waco, guaranteed not to rock the boat. they never even met him until the night before the trial. and then the only advice they offered him was to tell him that it looked bad, and he should pray. and he -- they never, i think they asked one question of a witness during the trial. the courtroom was so packed that the jury members had to be carried over the heads of other people in the courtroom and then people had to be shooed out of their seats so they could be seated. and when the proceedings were done, it took less than ab hour, the jury -- an hour, the jury went out and, of course, came back in four minutes with a guilty verdict. and the judge began to write "guilty and condemned to death or condemned to pun --" punishment, he didn't even get to finish the word. the crowd had just been waiting for the proceedings to conclude, and one big, tall young farmer climbed over everybody else and grabbed jesse washington and
hauled him into the little judge's office and down the back stairs and outside. and they tore his clothes off and dragged him down to the town square, and i think just about everybody, every man in waco tried to take some kind of pot shot at him. they hit him with bricks and clubs and 2x4s, some people had knives, and by the time they got to the town square, he was already covered with blood. as one paper said, "he became the play thing of the mob." as first some people said let's hang him from the bridge like we did the last fellow, and other voices said, no, that's not bad enough. he deserves something worse than that. and the truth was it was all planned. the mayor and the chief of police watched the whole thing from the mayor's comfortable second floor office at city hall, and they even had informed the most prominent commercial photographer in town, fred gildersleeve, to come and set up his equipment ahead of time.
kindling and excelsior and other flammable materials had been stashed near the center of the town square, so everyone knew what was going to happen. and when he finally was dragged to the center of the square, they put a chain around his neck and threw the chain over the branch of a tree. when he tried to pull the chain loose from his neck to be able to breathe, they cut his fingers off. and he was mutilated, you know, in many different ways. and then they doused him in coal oil and started a fire at the base of the tree, and they would put him down in the fire and then pull the chain and raise him up out of the fire so more people could see what was happening. and every time they did that, a big cheer went up. as one reporter said, "as if the crowd had just come from a football game where they had won a huge victory." unfortunately, he was a very strong young man. it took him a while to die.
at one point he even kicked himself off his funeral pyre, and they had to put him back on. finally all that was left was a charred torso and bits of limbs, and someone came along on a white horse a couple of hours afterwards and lassoed the remains, dragged them around the street, and the head fell off and was put on the step of a prostitute, and little boys pulled out the teeth and sold them for $5 apiece. people were fighting for links from the chain, for twigs from the tree which was completely destroyed in this process. and the mayor was heard to express great concern for what happened to the tree. no concern at all for what happened to a 17-year-old boy. the day after this particular lynching, one of the newspapers said "yesterday's exciting occurrence is a closed incident." but it was the purpose of the fledgling naacp to make sure that these stories were not forgotten, to shame the town and to publicize them every way
possible. so they sent in this young, white women's suffrage activist who was not an educated woman, but she had a lot of street smarts. she was very attractive and very charming. she used a british accent that she had obtained from her time in the suffrage movement in england where she'd been arrested several times. and they -- she was attending a statewide women's suffrage convention in dallas when the lynching took place. they sent her a telegram and asked her to to go to waco and get all the facts, the true story of what had happened, and get the photographs if she could. and she did, and she made up this story that she had been organizing in texas, and she knew people in waco -- which was true -- and she wanted to write a story for a new york people -- paper telling people waco wasn't all that bad. of course, nothing could have been further from the truth, but her story worked. she got in to see the mayor, the
chief of police, the people who would be able to give her valuable information. and she even convinced the commercial photographer, fred gildersleeve are, to give her the pictures even though he had already been ordered not to sell any more of them. and she was afraid to put this material in the mail because it was so inflammatory, so she took a train to galveston, took a ship back to new york and carried all the material personally to give to w.e.b. dubois face to face who was the towering african-american intellect of that period and also the editor of the naacp magazine, "the crisis." and what he did was publish the first-ever special supplement to the magazine all about this lynching, and he used the pictures. they didn't just send it to members of the naacp, they sent it to every member of woodrow wilson's cabinet, to newspaper editors all over the country, and then elizabeth herself went on a speaking tour -- mostly to black churches around the
country. i don't think she ever came back to texas. probably would have been unwise. interestingly enough, the whole story of the jesse washington lynching blew up and was featured in the newspaper and on tv in waco twice while i was doing my research before my book ever came out. and i have to give waco credit for this. unlike many, many other communities that have never confronted or dealt with or acknowledged their horrible racial past, the waco city council and the county commissioners did issue some sort of resolution of regret, if not apology. and a group of citizens from all walks of life came and stood on the steps of the courthouse on the 90th anniversary of the lynching and read a resolution of apology. i feel very strongly that you can't understand the present if you don't know what happened in the past. and these things cannot be forgotten. they're not forgotten.
so you need to acknowledge it, understand it and know what happened. >> you're watching booktv on c-span2. this weekend we're visiting waco, texas, talking with local authors and touring its literary sites. next, we speak with candi cann about her book, "virtual afterlives: grieving the dead in the 21st century." >> i think the grieving process is important because it's the way in which we resituate ourselves in the realm of the living without the dead. so part of what bereavement does is it allows us to live in a world in which the dead are no longer present. and what memorialization does, it allows us to resituate ourselves with the dead and to have a continuing relationship with the deceased in such a way that we bring meaning into our lives and that we can kind of go
about our daily task as a new person without our mother, without our brother, without our best friend, without our spouse. my book is called "virtual afterlives: grieving the dead in the 21st century," and it's about the rise of spontaneous memorialization and popular memorials in the 21st century because of the disappearance of the corpse and the disappearance of grieving rituals. i was working on my ph.d. dissertation comparing two different martyrs and their intentional process of helping people become martyrs, and one of the things that i noticed while working on that subject was that a lot of times the families are very much a process of memorializing their martyr. and part of that is the way that they give meaning to the death of the person who's died. and while i was working on that subject, i also noticed that there is an increase in popular
memorialization. so i started seeing, for example, car decals on the back of cars remembering people who had died, i started seeing internet memorials, facebook memorials, social network memorials and also tattoo memorials. i think that we got to this point now because, essentially, people became uncomfortable with death. and really the professionalization of the funeral industry, people were dying in hospitals, they were no longer dying in the home. so people weren't encountering the dying process. also after people died rather than washing the body and taking care of the body and preparing it for burial, people were sending the corpses straight from the hospitals to the funeral home. so you see this professionalization of the entire death industry from the dying process to the actual disposal of the corpse itself.
so i think part of that then led to a disappearance of the dead which then led to more and more people not talking about death, people becoming afraid of death and the dying process. and so this is partly where this disappearance of death emerges from. one of the ways in which people grieve, used to grieve the dead was by wearing mourning clothing or black armbands. so i think there is much more a communal remembrance of the dead. and also people were automatically recognized in society as being in bereavement or as mourning because they were wearing these black mourning clothes, because they were wearing the black armbands. so we don't see that anymore. modern bereavement practices, your seeing these -- you're seeing these new practices where people are writing on social network sites, they're writing on a facebook page of a friend who's just died. and i think part of this is the
same thing that we used to see before, only one would go to the tombstone, one would speak to the deceased at the site where they're buried. they would go to the tombstone, they would talk to them, they would have a conversation. so it's really not a change in practice as much as it's just a change in making private public. so what once used to be only taking place at the tombstone is now actually taking place in a public forum and within -- with an audience. and i think this is what's different about modern practices of memorialization. i don't think the practices themselves are that unusual, but the fact that we have a public audience for all of these conversations. a couple examples that i really discuss in my book, one of them is tattoos. while doing my book i was able to interview different tattoo artists and talk with them about the process. this is a really interesting tattoo. it's actually a picture of a scorpion.
the young man who has the tattoo on his leg, he purchased the scorpion when he was a little boy. the pet store told him they took the venom out of the scorpion, and then the scorpion bit his father and killed him. so he has all of this grief, and what's interesting about this tattoo is he has the scorpion, the instrument that killed his father, tattooed onto his leg in the same place where his father was bitten. so it's an interesting reenactment, i think, of the death. it's a way in which the son can identify with his father, that he remembers his dad always, and he's carrying this symbol of his father's death. but this that way he also remembered -- in that way he also remembers his dad and is allowed to grieve him. he's also allowed to start the conversation, he's allowed to talk about his father with his friends through the tattoo. so i really loved doing the research on the tattoos, because i got to meet the tattoo artists who really function in a way in
today's society as a kind of shaman or priest. they, during the process of etching the tattoos on people's bodies, they ask the person why they're getting the tattoo, what it means to them. and the person's allowed to have that space whether it's two hours, three hours to talk about the person they're remembering through the act of getting a tattoo. one of the big practices on a facebook page is to put a picture of yourself up with the deceased. and that lets everyone know, okay, yes, this person died, but i was a good friend of them. i am in mourning. and so part of this need is actually letting people know that you are in bereavement. so it's like wearing the mourning clothes or the black armband that you used to wear, say, 50 years ago. it is the practice, you know, i think a lot of people find it strange. i think where people really are finding it strange is in this
new era of funeral selfies, posting a picture with the deceased, taking a picture at the funeral. but honestly, i don't think that these things are that different. this is an era in which we use visual rhetoric to self-document our experiences. we take pictures of every experience we have, we post it on facebook. my daughter when she had surgery, she went into surgery, and the first thing she said when she woke up after the surgery was, mom, take a picture of me. and i realized, okay, that's not that different from someone who's going to their grandma's funeral taking a picture of themselves crying at the funeral or with the grandma in the casket. so i think what's changed is the public nature, that we're all part of this audience taking place and partaking in these previously private experiences. we're seeing it whether we want to see it or not, so death interrupts us. and i think this' what's different, and that's what's
disturbing to people today, is they can no longer choose whether or not they want to see pictures of the deceased, whether or not they want to interact with the deceased or whether or not they want to be an audience to someone speaking with the deceased. i hope people can have a conversation after reading my book about the dead. i hope people can talk about death. i hope that they can become comfortable with the subject of death because, honestly, for me the most important thing about death is that it helps us to live better. and if we really recognize that every single person that's born on this earth will one day die, then i think we'll live better lives, we'll live more intentional lives. and we'll be kinder and just and, hopefully, we'll do the things we've always wanted to do. we never know when we're going to die. and so for me, allowing death to enter the conversation really allows us to live better. >> this weekend booktv is in waco, texas, with the help of
our local cable partner, time warner. during the trip we spoke with steven moss. his book, "we could not fail," tells the stories of ten african-americans who worked at nasa during the civil rights movement. >> i first heard about the african-americans in the space program and nasa's involvement with civil rights and racial equality when i was in graduate school at texas tech in 1995. when i was doing research for a paper, i started noticing lit back page articles at the sit-ins at huntsville. well, there's nasa at huntsville, the marshall space flight center or what would be. and other, i guess it's smaller articles, back teenage, two paragraphs -- back page, two paragraphs, but they were all in nasa locations or nasa home states. i decided there had to be a
connection, there had to be a bigger story. nasa was the federal government. the federal government under president kennedy and president johnson were advocates of desegregation, were advocates of racial equal the city and equal employment. equality and equal employment, so there had to be some story there. there were too many little threads not to have a whole story out there. and this was more of a story than i was able to to tell in 1995 and '96 and '97. and that's what's shown in the book. with the stories of these men, some of whom worked for nasa, some for nasa contractors and some who were part of the space program or used the space program to advance the idea of racial equality and civil rights. one of the early executive orders of president kennedy was executive order 10925.
and this, prior to a civil rights bill, prior to the civil rights act of '64, this would use federal employment and federal contracts to force the issue of equal employment. it created the president's commission on equal employment opportunity which would be chaired by vice president johnson. it then required that all federal contractors advertise and prove that they are equal opportunity employers. which was a big thing. they could not discriminate based on race. and that made a difference to all of those contractors that nasa had. total number of african-american employees throughout the installations was always going to be small. we're talking in maybe double digits at the most in some
places. particularly in this time period. we look at 1960-1964, '65. that's going to be a very small number of african-americans in that type of work force in the south. one case he was a space contractor. he worked for rca, and that's julius montgomery. he was a range rat which meant that when a missile came down or something went wrong, he and a crew went out and worked on it to find out what was wrong, fixed it. his first day on the job at cape canaveral he goes in, and there are all these white people there. he doesn't know anybody. he's the only african-american there. and finally he decides he's going to go introduce himself to one. he puts out his hand and
introduces himself, and the man looks up at him and says, is that how you talk to a white man? and montgomery stops and says, "forgive me, o great white bastard." and according to the story that montgomery tells, they both laughed at it, shook hands and everything was fine. i love that story. it's sort of like the two men were testing each other, are you going to be able to handle this job because there's a problem here. another would be morgan watson. morgan watson was one of a group of interns from southern university in baton rouge, and he was, his group were called water walkers. because they could walk on water. they were that, they were that
good at what they did and had that type of respect especially within their community. the african-american community, the african-american college. morgan watson came to nasa, and he worked on the rockets. it wasn't just working at an office at a desk. he worked on the engineering side of it. and he's very quick. in fact, he gave us the quote that gave us the title of this book that he felt and others like him felt that the image of black people in the professions was resting on them. was resting on he and his coworkers. and we could not fail, he said. and that's reflected in comments
made by others who worked at nasa and contractors at the time. they were fully aware that eyes were on them of the black community, of the white community, of the engineering community, of nasa. they couldn't fail. there was too much. if they make a mistake, then whatever mistake they make gets labeled onto everyone who comes after them. and these gentlemen did not fail, not at all. george carothers worked for nasa as an astronomer, and his -- i think it's the far ultraviolet camera is on the moon right now. and this wonderful piece of technology that took, i think, 20 years for him to design and for it to build went up with apollo 16 in the 1970s because
the closer you are to space, the better you can take pictures of it. finish and so as an -- and so as an astronomer, he had that. the others who are in the book, frank crossley who is a metal you are gist, and he worked for space contractors. crossley was one of the first african-american naval officers towards the end of world war ii, and he was also the first african-american to have a ph.d. in metallurgy. and his experience as an academic is very much like a lot of african-american academics, engineers at the time. he was told when he asked about promotions, you know, why, why no promotion, why am i still here? he was told, well, you've already come farther than anyone else in your race, we thought you'd be okay with it.
congress see that happening now, and -- couldn't see that happening now, and it shouldn't have happened ever. but that's the type of system that existed. there was political pressure that an integrated astronaut corps would make sense, a black astronaut, an african-american astronaut. 1961, the white house is sending memos to get a black astronaut. we need to find a candidate to eventually qualify to be a black astronaut. 1962, and there's never, it's never quite clear who orders it, whether president kennedy is directly involved with it, whether his brother, the attorney general robert kennedy, directly involved with it. it's never quite clear how this exactly happens. curtis lemay, who's the air
force chief of staff, tells chuck yeager that bobby kennedy wanted an african-american candidate, that he was given this by the attorney general. so by 1962 a black candidate, ed dwight who was an air force officer, jet pilot, starts the full training to qualify for consideration into the astronaut corps. in the black press, he is front page. his picture is everywhere with, headlines everywhere. he is every bit the astronaut that any of the mercury seven were. white newspapers in the south wish him well and call him a credit to his race which is an unusual thing for a white paper in the south to say about any african-american. but he was a rock star. he was the guy. he was going to be the first
african-american astronaut. and then he he wasn't. it's never quite sure what happened. he finished the training programs and was nominated to nasa, but so were 130 other people. they took, i think, less than 20 out of that 130. he wasn't one of them. that led to some controversy, magazines, some investigations, calls for investigations. no one's quite sure exactly how it ended up. there are lots of different stories. dwight has a version of how things went, there's pieces of the official version. all we know for sure is he never became an astronaut, but nasa --
while he was a potential astronaut -- took advantage of his publicity and his press. they just didn't see a way to take advantage of the press that would have come along with an actual astronaut. african-american astronaut. i think the story of nasa's involvement and the space program's involvement in civil rights fell through the cracks because there was so much bigger, fancier stuff. when people think of the space program, they don't think of of an entry-level african-american engineer. not in the 1960s. they think of all of those launches; gemini, apollo, mercury, they think of the mercury seven, they think of all those launches and splashdowns. but they don't think that, wow,
there were five african-american engineers working at huntsville, alabama. what great thing. what a great thing. they don't think about that because there's all this other excitement with the space program. and then there are all the other social and economic histories and project histories. there's so much about it that it just got overlooked. it's not a big story in that sense. and it's the same in how it fell through with civil rights histories. there are so many central figures and events to write about in civil rights history in the 1950s and '60s. the march on washington, dr. king, malcolm x, the black panthers, snccc, students for nonviolence. there's just so much there that, again, the stories, the personal
stories of these men and how nasa just doing its job more or less as an agency affected racial equality, it just -- nobody made the connection before. they didn't make the connection, and on the personal side with the gentlemen, these weren't the guys that were on tv. back then. these were just guys that went to work, came home, went back to work. they weren't part of the protest movements, because as it was described, they had their jobs at stake. it's important that these get out while some of these men are still with us so they can see that their stories are making a difference on a broader scale, and they can continue to be an inspiration and a role model not
just for african-americans, but for anybody who's facing a sort of discrimination. that because these men could not fail and did not fail, we have a more fair, more equal society. >> for more information on booktv's recent visit to waco, texas, and the many other cities visited by our local content vehicles, go to c-span.org/lock job content. -- c-span.org/localcontent. >> booktv covers hundreds of author programs all year long, and here's a look at some of the events we'll be attending this week. look for these in the near future on booktv on c-span2. monday we're at the new york public library in manhattan for mac coffman's -- mark coffman's inside look at the mars curiosity mission. tuesday afternoon at the museum of international finance, the